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David Albert concurs. “The class is small enough … that you get to really know your classmates … I’ve just found other students to be extremely helpful. I’ve never had anyone tell me if I missed a class that they won’t share their notes.”

The Goat
The Goat: Law School mainstay is Chinese arbiter of guilt and innocence.

The Clock
The clock has become a favorite meeting place.
In other respects, though, student life has changed dramatically. Beyond quality, there’s quantity. Quite simply, Penn Law’s growing reputation translates to more applications and more students. Just as Manifest Destiny gave rise to new states, the law school has stretched its physical boundaries to accommodate growth. Walk into the building and you enter a new realm. The Goat retains its place in law school lore, but it now has company: The Clock. This relatively new gathering spot is in Tanenbaum Hall, which did not exist until ten years ago. And the expansion isn’t done. Renovations to Roberts Hall will be complete this summer, giving the school a gleaming, modern façade along Chestnut Street and space for additional faculty.

Then, too, there’s the astounding number and variety of student clubs – a reflection of students’ manifold interests. More than forty clubs have replaced the fraternal groups of old. Organized around race, gender and identity, there are political, sports, law reform, law and medicine, law and business, law and real estate groups – all of which give students with similar ideas and interests a vehicle to meet.

There’s the drift away from campus for after-school social life. More students used to live in the dorms and spend more time on campus, watching movies and going to parties. Now, many students tend to live downtown. “Students are much more quality-oriented,” Clinton says. “Students have more money … and they spend more time away from school, because they’ve got better apartments, better opportunities for socializing at other places.”

There’s the dispersion of students. Today, nearly 70 percent of students come from outside the Mid Atlantic states. “Maybe that student in Arizona wouldn’t have applied to Penn twenty years ago, and now sees Penn as a top choice,” Verrier says.

Certainly, Penn was David Albert’s first choice. “(Penn) has an international reputation that automatically makes it a great place to be, especially if you want to have an international career,” Albert says.

On the whole, the well-traveled Albert would rather be in Philadelphia, at Penn, which manages to maintain a fine balance between innovation and tradition.
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